What is Tempo in Weight Training?

PRECISION PERFORMANCE
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There are multiple different ways to train and ways for you to change your training in order to add a different stimulus to the muscle you are training. One great way to add variety to your training is to understand and use the concept of tempo training.

WHAT IS TEMPO?

Tempo, also referred to as “time under tension” has been around within programme design for years.

There is no right or wrong tempo, it all comes down to what you are looking to get out of the exercises. For example, depending and what your goal is and what the goal of the given exercise of will determine what tempo is sufficient.

WHAT DO THE NUMBERS CORRESPOND TO?

THE FIRST NUMBER

The first number is for the negative or eccentric phase – in other words, when you are lowering the weight or when you are moving in a direction opposite to the muscle contraction. For a squat and a bench press, this would mean lowering the weight. For a cable row, this would mean returning the plates to the stack.

THE SECOND NUMBER

The second number is the pause after the first phase is complete – for example, in the bench press, a pause as the weight is held stationary just above the chest.

THE THIRD NUMBER

The third number refers to the concentric or positive phase – the contraction. For a bench press, this would be driving the bar upwards. A number of 1 here typically means, “explode” – in other words, you may do it faster than 1 second.

THE FOURTH NUMBER

The fourth number is usually left out, but if present, refers to the pause at the top of the movement.

IN OUR EXAMPLE OF 3110, YOU WOULD DO THIS ON A BENCH PRESS

  • Take 3 second to lower the bar to your chest
  • Pause for 1 seconds with the bar held just above your chest
  • Take 1 seconds to drive the bar upwards, controlling it and even moving more slowly than usual to take the full 3 seconds
  • Pause for 0 seconds at the top, with your arms just shy of lockout

That would be one rep, and that rep would have taken 5 seconds. If your training program called for 3 sets of 12 reps, that would mean you would spend 3 x 12 x 5 = 180 seconds or 3 minutes moving weight. Add to that your rest time, and you can estimate the length of your workouts!

WHY WE LIKE TEMPO TRAINING?

Tempo extremely important to focus on the muscle that you are training weather your goal is to increase muscle mass, gain strength or lose body fat. Far too often now a day you see people in the gym hauling crazy weight from A to B training nothing but their ego and destroying their joints. Applying tempo in your training will allow you to apply a lot more stress on the muscle you are training which will then carry over to you getting bigger, stronger and leaner.

Try out some tempo training in your next workout and let us know how you get on 🙂